There are mounting trepidations over a recommendation put forward by the Justice Ayo Salami led investigative panel set up over the controversies surrounding erstwhile EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu.
As already known, the search for a replacement for the suspended EFCC boss has begun; however, part of the recommendations by the panel is that “the agency should henceforth be headed by non-Police officers”.
Sources within the presidency who spoke to StarMedia Renaissance correspondence, on condition of anonymity, says this portion of the proposal by the panel is generating a lot of controversies and debates amongst security experts within and outside the presidency who feels, such submission is not only ill-advised but quite appalling.
According to our sources, President Muhammadu Buhari is looking outside the police force in the search for the new EFCC boss in conformity with the recommendation of the panel that probed sleaze allegations against Magu. It was also gathered that small search team would be constituted in the next few days to narrow down on the candidate capable of delivering the President’s dream of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.
It is feared however that the intention to influence a non-police officer as the headship of the EFCC may likely sound the death knell especially as the body requires professional intelligence and technical know-how in the fight to identify and curb corrupt practices in the society.
“The role of the “EFCC Chairman” is not one to toy with. Not having personnel with a historical background deeply rooted in the police occupation to occupy such position may be counter-productive to the anti-corruption fight,” a source said.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Nigeria Civil Rights Groups (CONRIG), a socio-political pressure group in Nigeria, while reacting to the submission by the Ayo Salami led panel, has called on the President of the Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to reject any recommendation that opposes the appointment of an EFCC chairmanship from the Police institution.
Speaking during a briefing with journalists, the group President, Mr Adegbuyi Kehinde, condemned the recommendation of the panel, saying it downplays the key role the police performs in the fight against crime and related vices.
He said, rather than suggest modalities needed to reposition the Nigeria Police Institution towards greatness, a submission like this would further demoralize the already demoralized personnel, who over the years, have been deprived of the necessary attention they deserve in discharging their legitimate duties.
He added, “The Police officers that trained the pioneer core staffs of the EFCC are still stagnated by way of promotion because promotion in the civil service is based on the availability of vacancies; it, therefore, makes no reasonable argument as stated by the Salami report. It is evident that the emerging motive is to push the police elements out of the commission and this is a disaster waiting to happen to the EFCC”.